Modern techniques for the determination of anabolic-androgenic steroid doping in the horse

Bioanalysis. 2009 Jul;1(4):785-803. doi: 10.4155/bio.09.52.


Control of the use of performance-affecting substances in the horse is critical to the integrity of a wide range of equine sports, with major implications for both animal welfare and revenue streams. One class of medications enjoying particular public notoriety is the anabolic-androgenic steroid group, as highlighted by the recent 'Big Brown' affair and Congressional inquiries into the use of steroids in professional sports, including horse racing, in the USA. This review examines the latest developments pertaining to the analytical detection of these substances in equine biological samples and the supporting regulatory environment. Consideration is given to the full variety of sample matrices available, together with modern sample preparative approaches and instrumental techniques. Issues concerning the regulation of endogenous steroids, including thresholds where applicable, are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / analysis*
  • Anabolic Agents / metabolism
  • Analytic Sample Preparation Methods
  • Androgens / analysis
  • Animals
  • Chemistry Techniques, Analytical*
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Designer Drugs / analysis
  • Designer Drugs / metabolism
  • Doping in Sports*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Hair / chemistry
  • Horses / blood*
  • Horses / metabolism
  • Horses / urine*
  • Humans
  • Limit of Detection
  • Male
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances / analysis*
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances / metabolism
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Androgens
  • Designer Drugs
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances